Bonnier AB Sells Bonnier Broadcasting to Telia

Bonnier AB divests Bonnier Broadcasting, with brands TV4, C More and Finnish MTV, to Telia Company for SEK 9.2 billion.

In order to create the best possible foundation and maneuverability for the future of its business, Bonnier AB is selling its business area Bonnier Broadcasting to Telia Company.

Bonnier Broadcasting’s Swedish operations include TV4 and C More. Included in TV4 are the various channels of the network, the streaming service TV4 Play as well as other advertising-based services, such as soccer site Fotbollskanalen and food site Kö Sweden’s fastest growing streaming service, C More, includes a range of pay TV channels. In Finland, MTV is the country’s oldest and leading commercial TV network offering free programming in a number of advertising-based channels, as well as a pay TV service under the C More brand. Bonnier Broadcasting’s revenues for 2017 were SEK 7.49 billion with profits of SEK 423 million (EBITA).

With the acquisition, Telia Company establishes a new business area for the company, which will include the businesses within Bonnier Broadcasting. Telia’s intention is that the CEO for the business area will be Casten Almqvist, who is currently the CEO for Bonnier Broadcasting.

Carl-Johan Bonnier, chairman of the board for Bonnier AB, says:

“We are convinced that this is a really good deal for Bonnier and for our companies. As a family-owned business, Bonnier has a clear long-term perspective and this divestment gives our remaining businesses a stronger financial foundation with the best possible conditions for the future.

“As owners, we are very proud of the development of our TV operations during the years Bonnier has served as owner. Such as the development of content within journalism, Swedish drama and entertainment through which TV4 has created its distinctive character and unique position. These initiatives also have had a powerful impact on the market as well as on the bottom line, with an increase in total viewership and record levels of both digital and linear advertising sales. MTV also has a leading position when it comes to content in the Finnish market, and we’ve succeeded in significantly increasing the number of C More customers both in Sweden and in Finland.

“With Telia Company as owner, Bonnier Broadcasting’s leading quality content will be combined with cutting-edge knowledge within technology and distribution, which means an excellent foundation for future development of TV4, MTV and C More. For us, it’s also been critical that TV4, MTV and C More have a new owner who sees the value in maintaining and ensuring the key principle of editorial independence.

“Through the divestment, we will be an even stronger owner for the journalism-based operations that make up our historic core business, as well as gaining financial resources to take advantage of opportunities for growth within these and adjacent areas.”

Bonnier CEO Tomas Franzén says:

“I am very pleased that TV4, MTV and C More are getting an owner and platform to grow that give the best foundation for the future. This combination strengthens the opportunities for TV4, MTV and C More to compete in the fight over engaging content.

“For Bonnier, the deal strengthens us both defensively and offensively: We have the possibility to powerfully strengthen our financial position; at the same time, on the basis of our strategic focus on digital user revenues, we can gain considerable room to maneuver in terms of investing in our existing businesses as well as considering larger investments for growth within new areas.

“In this way, the deal fits well with both ensuring the financial stability and the long-term future our company stands for, as well as with the greater maneuverability we want to have in our work with investing in growth and growing our digital user revenues. We want to ensure that we will continue to look to the long-term, which is beneficial both for our companies and for the role in a democratic society that our businesses stand for.”

Bonnier Broadcasting CEO Casten Almqvist says:

“This deal provides a further strengthening of Bonnier Broadcasting’s existing strategy, which is logical when you consider the changes in a global and highly competitive media market. With Telia as an owner, we have even better conditions for our commitment to high-quality Swedish content in everything from news and sport, to drama and entertainment. Coupled with Telia’s edge within technology and distribution, we gain new opportunities to reach large groups of users in Sweden and Finland with our programming and services.”

The sale amounts to SEK 9.2 billion, with potentially an additional SEK 1 billion. The total of the eventual additional amount is based on future revenue and EBITA.

Bonnier first became a minority owner of TV4 in 1997, and full owner in 2007. In 2005, MTV was acquired and in 2008, C More (at that time Canal Plus).

The deal will require the consent of competition authorities, and is expected to conclude during the second half of 2019.

Bonnier AB’s financial advisor for the transaction has been SEB Corporate Finance and the legal advisor has been Roschier.

In conjunction with the announcement, a press conference in Swedish will be held at 11 a.m. today, July 20, with Marie Ehrling, Board Chair for Telia Company; Johan Dennelind, President and CEO for Telia Company; Tomas Franzén, CEO for Bonnier AB; and Casten Almqvist, CEO for Bonnier Broadcasting. The press conference will be followed by time for interviews.

Address: Telia Company, Stjärntorget 1, Solna